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Substantial legal reforms took place in Dubai, with several good improvements aimed at making living in the UAE simpler. Here are nine new policies that were implemented in Dubai in 2020, ranging from allowing unmarried couples to live together to adjustments to alcohol prohibitions.

Laws governing marriage

The UAE government announced substantial revisions to several of its personal and family regulations on November 7, 2021, in an effort to enhance living conditions for the country’s multicultural population. The announcement that unmarried couples can now live together was one of the most significant modifications. Men and women who are not married or related can now live together without fear of retaliation.

Laws governing divorce

Updates to divorce regulations in Dubai and the UAE were also included in the November revisions for UAE citizens who were previously married. Now, married couples can divorce according to the rules of the nation in which they were married (rather than being subject to UAE law).

Purchasing, distributing and drinking alcoholic beverages

The penalty for consuming, having, or trading in alcoholic drinks in residences and approved locations has been abolished, according to Article 1 of Federal Decree Law No. 15 of 2020. This law is up to the discretion of each emirate, and purchasing alcohol from liquor outlets in Dubai still requires an alcohol licence.

Law on Equal Pay for Equal Work

In August 2020, the UAE legislation was amended to include a ‘equality of wage’ clause, which ensures that men and women are paid equally for identical work. “Should she be performing the same task, or another of similar value,” the decree states, “the female worker shall be awarded a pay equal to that of the male worker.” This is a significant step toward closing the pay gap between men and women.

100% foreign ownership of firms in the UAE

HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, revised the need for an Emirati shareholder to launch a firm in the UAE on November 24. Non-Emiratis of all nationalities can now open full-fledged companies. The measure is intended to make the UAE more appealing to international investors, with the goal of increasing foreign capital inflows into the Arab world’s second-biggest economy.

Visa for retirement

The Dubai government introduced a new worldwide retirement visa, branded Retire in Dubai, in September. The retirement visa is for persons aged 55 and older who can financially support themselves. Every five years, the visa is renewed, and applicants must fulfil one of the following financial requirements:

A Dhs20,000 monthly salary
Dhs1 million in savings
Having a Dhs2 million home in Dubai
Maternity and paternity leave changes

If you’re expecting in Dubai, here’s a new guideline to follow. Following the birth of a child, private sector workers were given an additional five days of maternity and paternity leave. For women in the private sector, this means an increase from 45 to 50 days of maternity leave. Fathers are now entitled to five days of paternity leave, which will last for six months from the day of the baby’s birth.

Harassment laws are in place to protect people from being harassed.

Federal Law No. 15 was passed in September, making it more difficult for women to be harassed verbally or physically. Up to two years in jail and/or a fine of up to Dh100,000 are possible penalties.

Act of trustworthiness

You’ll be relieved to learn that there is now legislation in place to safeguard good samaritans in Dubai. You can now aid individuals in good faith without fear of being held criminally responsible if you hurt them accidentally. This is especially true for individuals providing help at accident scenes.